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AFC East smackdown: Is June too soon to light a fire?


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Rex Ryan is pugnacious by nature.

That's the short answer for why the new coach of the New York Jets decided to launch a bizarre war of words with the rest of the AFC East and why he probably doesn't have a single regret for doing so.

But it doesn't explain everything.

For some reason, most of us don't have a problem when we hear a player shoot his mouth off. For instance, Miami Dolphins linebacker Joey Porter was simply being true to form when, in response to someone mentioning the New England Patriots being clear favorites to win the AFC East, he said the road to the division crown runs through Miami. Ditto for when Pats wide receiver Randy Moss felt the need to declare himself the "greatest wide receiver of all time."

But it's different with the guy who wears the headset. Picking fights in June, or at any time, probably doesn't rank among the wiser choices by an NFL head coach. That's why other coaches in the division are still scratching their heads over the public shot he took at Patriots coach Bill Belichick and at Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder after Crowder first jabbed Ryan for saying he wasn't going to kiss Belichick's Super Bowl rings.

Carucci chat

T_Brady_090528_5_HS.jpg "I think the optimism over the Patriots' chances is driven by their tremendous offensive potential, mainly resulting from Tom Brady's healthy return from his knee injury but also because of his supporting cast. Offense is what drove the team to its incredible run in '07, with Brady, and it is what drove it to an 11-5, near-playoff finish in '08, without him and with a suspect defense. You do the math and it still says the Patriots look as good as any candidate to win it all." More ...

Crowder made the point that June wasn't the time for big talk and sarcastically congratulated Ryan for being the "OTA Super Bowl winner." Of Crowder, Ryan said, in part, before breaking into laughter, "

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